Help Me Build My PC Catch-All

Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've always thought of watts like speed (eg miles/hr), which is a rate as you say. Therefore watt-hours is the distance traveled. So if you used 1000 watt-hours in one hour, that means your device was running at 1000 watts does it not? I admit I could be misunderstanding the relationship between the two but that's what Wikipedia seems to say.

The PC has a 550w power supply so I'm guessing there's no way it can actually pull a 1000w without blowing a fuse? I can always check the readings from the kill-a-watt again.

avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've always thought of watts like speed (eg miles/hr), which is a rate as you say. Therefore watt-hours is the distance traveled. So if you used 1000 watt-hours in one hour, that means your device was running at 1000 watts does it not? I admit I could be misunderstanding the relationship between the two but that's what Wikipedia seems to say.

The PC has a 550w power supply so I'm guessing there's no way it can actually pull a 1000w without blowing a fuse? I can always check the readings from the kill-a-watt again.

yeah seems like the first read was off somehow, definitely shouldn't be burning that much unless your PSU is extremely inefficient, which seems unlikely.

As I understand it, when a PSU is rated at, say 500W at 80% efficiency, that 500W would be the draw from the socket and it would supply up to 400W to components.

Scratched wrote:

As I understand it, when a PSU is rated at, say 500W at 80% efficiency, that 500W would be the draw from the socket and it would supply up to 400W to components.

I came across this site, which runs their tests assuming that the PSU's claimed wattage is its output, not what it draws from the wall.

They take a deep look at the PSUs they test, it's kind of enlightening to read. For example this review will make sure the reader never ever considers a generic PSU ever again.

Generic PSU's are like putting a ticking time bomb in your $750 PC.. Sure even the good PSU's can blow components in your system when they go.. but with the cheap ones you've upped that risk fairly dramatically.

Dear GWJ,

So I got my tax return recently, and my plan was to use it to either upgrade my computer, or grab a new one, but i'm hemming and hawwing over my options. I've been over what i'm using currently, and it seems that this machine desperately needs a new video card, before the current one gives up the ghost.

What i'm indecisive about is whether I want to get a new video card, and keep using this machine... or try and find a lappy for myself.

Let me be frank about what I want and need. I'm pretty much past wanting cutting-edge everything, I want it to fit my needs and my budget. And i'm not interested in spending much more than $350 on a new video card, or more than $900 on a new laptop.

What I need for the immediate future is something I can begin learning/doing graphic design with (Specifically Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator), and that can at least handle gaming on the level of, let's say Just Cause 2.

I couldn't build a PC to my price specifications, so i'm asking the braintrust here what might be a better idea: Just upgrading my video card and keeping my current PC (which seems to be running fine, mind you), or spend a bit more and get a spanking-new laptop?

Try this as a starting point: http://www.logicalincrements.com together with www.pcpartpicker.com

Wow. Wow. That Logical Increments site is amazing. And then some.

Chairman_Mao wrote:
avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've always thought of watts like speed (eg miles/hr), which is a rate as you say. Therefore watt-hours is the distance traveled. So if you used 1000 watt-hours in one hour, that means your device was running at 1000 watts does it not? I admit I could be misunderstanding the relationship between the two but that's what Wikipedia seems to say.

The PC has a 550w power supply so I'm guessing there's no way it can actually pull a 1000w without blowing a fuse? I can always check the readings from the kill-a-watt again.

yeah seems like the first read was off somehow, definitely shouldn't be burning that much unless your PSU is extremely inefficient, which seems unlikely.

Looks like I was off by an order of magnitude on my initial readings

So here are the readings from running the kill-a-watt for 3 hours:

Power draw at boot - 112 W
Power draw at default idle - 70 W
Power draw at powersave idle - 54 W (CPU active, screen active, 4/6 drives spun down)
Power draw at full load - 97 W (All drives active, screen active, All CPU cores at 100%)
Total power usage in 3 hours - 0.1 kWh or .03 kW per hour.

avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:
avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've always thought of watts like speed (eg miles/hr), which is a rate as you say. Therefore watt-hours is the distance traveled. So if you used 1000 watt-hours in one hour, that means your device was running at 1000 watts does it not? I admit I could be misunderstanding the relationship between the two but that's what Wikipedia seems to say.

The PC has a 550w power supply so I'm guessing there's no way it can actually pull a 1000w without blowing a fuse? I can always check the readings from the kill-a-watt again.

yeah seems like the first read was off somehow, definitely shouldn't be burning that much unless your PSU is extremely inefficient, which seems unlikely.

Looks like I was off by an order of magnitude on my initial readings

So here are the readings from running the kill-a-watt for 3 hours:

Power draw at boot - 112 W
Power draw at default idle - 70 W
Power draw at powersave idle - 54 W (CPU active, screen active, 4/6 drives spun down)
Power draw at full load - 97 W (All drives active, screen active, All CPU cores at 100%)
Total power usage in 3 hours - 0.1 kWh or .03 kW per hour.

heh phew! That makes much more sense.

So Newegg has a deal today (24 hours only) on a 250GB Samsung SSD for $150. I was planning on waiting but that seems like a price I can't pass up. It's normally $210, but this is a deal that only activates if you're signed up for newegg e-mails. Not sure if it'll work if you sign up for the e-mails today.

Promo Code: EMCYTZT2903

Also: Deal valid between 9:00am on 2/9/13 to 8:59am PST on 2/10/13

S0LIDARITY wrote:

So Newegg has a deal today (24 hours only) on a 250GB Samsung SSD for $150. I was planning on waiting but that seems like a price I can't pass up. It's normally $210, but this is a deal that only activates if you're signed up for newegg e-mails. Not sure if it'll work if you sign up for the e-mails today.

Promo Code: EMCYTZT2903

Also: Deal valid between 9:00am on 2/9/13 to 8:59am PST on 2/10/13

Not that it's bad, but that's the lower grade 840 vs the pro. Has a lower grade of memory. TLC NAND vs MLC NAND in the 840 Pros. TLC is slower and has a shorter life span than MCL memory.

Probably won't matter that much, just making sure you were aware of the differences.

Anandtech still gave the 840 a good review, despite the trade off in memory quality.

Thanks MannishBoy, I think I'll still bite on it. It won't be for a gaming rig.

avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:
avggeek wrote:
Chairman_Mao wrote:

I've always thought of watts like speed (eg miles/hr), which is a rate as you say. Therefore watt-hours is the distance traveled. So if you used 1000 watt-hours in one hour, that means your device was running at 1000 watts does it not? I admit I could be misunderstanding the relationship between the two but that's what Wikipedia seems to say.

The PC has a 550w power supply so I'm guessing there's no way it can actually pull a 1000w without blowing a fuse? I can always check the readings from the kill-a-watt again.

yeah seems like the first read was off somehow, definitely shouldn't be burning that much unless your PSU is extremely inefficient, which seems unlikely.

Looks like I was off by an order of magnitude on my initial readings

So here are the readings from running the kill-a-watt for 3 hours:

Power draw at boot - 112 W
Power draw at default idle - 70 W
Power draw at powersave idle - 54 W (CPU active, screen active, 4/6 drives spun down)
Power draw at full load - 97 W (All drives active, screen active, All CPU cores at 100%)
Total power usage in 3 hours - 0.1 kWh or .03 kW per hour.

What kind of setup is this? This is a box ito which you've thrown some drives. Anything special, or just a cheap mid-tower thingy?

muraii wrote:

What kind of setup is this? This is a box ito which you've thrown some drives. Anything special, or just a cheap mid-tower thingy?

I didn't have enough space for a mid tower, so I used a mini-ITX Board and a SFF case. The case required the use of a low profile CPU cooler, but that's the only "non-standard" thing. Everything else is regular PC parts including the OS (Ubuntu 12.04)

Ubuntu is standard? What type of radical Linux talk that??

Citizen86 wrote:

Ubuntu is standard? What type of radical Linux talk that??

Does running XFCE instead of Gnome for my desktop make it more radical?

Nvidia's bundle when buying new 650/660+: In game stuff for World of tanks, Planetside2, Hawken F2P games

Asking for a friend:

Budget - $1700 (cdn) max.
Looking for a powerful computer that will last him for a long time.

He wants a dedicated audio card, as he does a lot of audio editing and stuff.
Lots of downloading stuff off of the internet and watching it.
Open to dual video cards for dual monitors, but not a necessity.
Games are not a priority, but his current computer is about 10 years old, so game-playing may come into it if one strikes his interest.
He is looking for info on good SSD drives as well as mid-tower cases and really reliable power supplies.

He already has a monitor, OS, keyboard, etc, so that is not needed.

mudbunny wrote:

Asking for a friend:

Budget - $1700 (cdn) max.
Looking for a powerful computer that will last him for a long time.

He wants a dedicated audio card, as he does a lot of audio editing and stuff.
Lots of downloading stuff off of the internet and watching it.
Open to dual video cards for dual monitors, but not a necessity.
Games are not a priority, but his current computer is about 10 years old, so game-playing may come into it if one strikes his interest.
He is looking for info on good SSD drives as well as mid-tower cases and really reliable power supplies.

He already has a monitor, OS, keyboard, etc, so that is not needed.

If his computer's 10 years old is he using a CRT, a basic 4:3 flat panel, or an HD display? If not the latter, he may want to look into a display. In any event, as is often the case 'round these parts, knowing what resolution he's displaying will help determine what GPU/CPU combo will be a good fit. The rest seems to hang on this, generally.

A nice LCD is a big part of the overall "experience" of any PC (gaming or otherwise).. I for example can't imagine living in my spreadsheets, powerpoints and word docs without 3 27" Screens at work.

Dual video cards aren't necessary for dual monitors. Unless his budget includes getting a second monitor, he should be able to get a very good computer with ~$500 to spare.

Here's a possible start to a build, sort of like the one I recently built: http://ca.pcpartpicker.com/p/CVvx

The PSU has lots of extra wattage, so it can be stepped down to ~500W for some savings (though "80 Plus Gold" is a good thing). Add a video card, audio card, and case [I'm happy with my Define R4 made by Fractal Design but there are some good ones for cheaper] and you're good to go.

muraii wrote:

If his computer's 10 years old is he using a CRT, a basic 4:3 flat panel, or an HD display? If not the latter, he may want to look into a display. In any event, as is often the case 'round these parts, knowing what resolution he's displaying will help determine what GPU/CPU combo will be a good fit. The rest seems to hang on this, generally.

The monitor is more recent...a Samsung SyncMaster 2232 LCD.

Cyranix wrote:

Dual video cards aren't necessary for dual monitors. Unless his budget includes getting a second monitor, he should be able to get a very good computer with ~$500 to spare.

Right, AMD will run I think 6 off of one card with the right adapters. You can run two without attaching anything extra, but 3+ require an active DVI Adapter.

Not sure exactly what one Nvidia card can do, but I know it will do two with just one card.

Now if you want to game on multiple monitors, you might need more horsepower. But I just game on one and use my second for media and communications software like Vent.

The GTX580's we use at work have two DVIs and 1 DisplayPort, so I'm assuming you can run 3 monitors off them, though I haven't tried more than 2 (a Dell UltraSharp 27" LED and a Wacom Cintiq).

WipEout wrote:

The GTX580's we use at work have two DVIs and 1 DisplayPort, so I'm assuming you can run 3 monitors off them, though I haven't tried more than 2 (a Dell UltraSharp 27" LED and a Wacom Cintiq).

You definitely can do that with the 680s. The one issue to be aware of is that you must have 2 in SLI in order to do Nvidia surround. So, while a single 580 or 680 (and probably the cheaper models) can push 3 displays, it won't be able to take advantage of the Nvidia surround feature for gaming. A single AMD card can run 3 displays and also do Eyefinity.

Can anyone help? My hard drive croaked a while back and I just got my new one in today. I bought a copy of windows 8 and started up the computer with it and the new hard drive installed.

As I'm trying to instal windows 8, I get the error "a media driver your computer needs is missing. This could be a DVD, USB, or hard disk driver. If you have a cd, DVD, or USB flash drive with the driver on it, please insert it now."

Is there any way to find out what I'm missing? A google search hasn't done me much good.

Go to the BIOS and make sure it sees your new hard drive. If not, make sure it's plugged in 100%

obirano wrote:

Can anyone help? My hard drive croaked a while back and I just got my new one in today. I bought a copy of windows 8 and started up the computer with it and the new hard drive installed.

Is there any way to find out what I'm missing? A google search hasn't done me much good.

Windows 7?

WizKid wrote:
obirano wrote:

Can anyone help? My hard drive croaked a while back and I just got my new one in today. I bought a copy of windows 8 and started up the computer with it and the new hard drive installed.

Is there any way to find out what I'm missing? A google search hasn't done me much good.

Windows 7?

Stop that!